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Driveability & Practicality Combined

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Drives like a car, packs like an SUV — station wagons have their niche in the market for those who want a combination of driveability and practicality. Here are three different versions to choose from, each a winner in its own right.

SKODA OCTAVIA KOMBI

It’s been 60 years since the first OCTAVIA Kombi hit the market back in 1961, but this stalwart of the Czech brand still pushes the boundaries of technology, comfort and performance for drivers who want to inject storage prowess with driveability.

The OCTAVIA line itself is in its fourth generation, and the latest one is destined to be the bestselling ever, with the Kombi contributing in its sector.

The all-new OCTAVIA boasts a mild hybrid powertrain using EVO-generation 1.5TSI petrol engines boosted with an a48-volt belt-driven starter motor and a48-volt lithium-ion battery that recovers brake energy and supports the combustion engine with an electric boost. This mild hybrid system boosts overall performance through the lower revs when moving off a standing start, and also allows the car to cruise at higher speeds with the combustion engine deactivated. The new OCTAVIA is also the first SKODA ever to use shift-by-wire technology to operate the DSG, which electronically transmits the driver’s gear selection to the transmission for smoother, seamless gear changes.

In addition to an more efficient, environmentally conscious engine, the new OCTAVIA Kombi is also equipped with high-end safety features like Side Assist, Lane Assist, and Exit Warning. Adaptive Cruise Control is also available with advanced capabilities based on a radar sensor located on the front grille that helps the vehicle automatically brake and accelerate to a speed and distance set by the driver — all within three seconds!

With recent changes in the design language at SKODA, the Kombi has also grown in proportions. The new model is 22mm longer than the previous iteration, and boot capacity has increased by 30 litres to 640 litres as standard, expandable to 1700 litres with the back seats folded.
The interior of the Kombi takes the car several notches above its predecessor. The new two-spoke steering wheel comes with new control buttons and knurled scroll wheels, allowing drivers to operate a total of 14 different functions without removing their hands. New soft-touch materials throughout offer the car a premium sensation. And for a change of mood, the new LED ambient lighting accentuates the front doors, dashboard and footwells with a palate of RGB colours that the driver can assign to different parts of the interior.The SKODA OCTAVIA’s infotainment system allows a choice of two systems from Volkswagen Group’s latest-generation modular infotainment matrix. The Swing infotainment system comes with an eight-inch, customisable touchscreen that supports SmartLink technology and allows pairing via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. On higher trims, the Bolero infotainment system has a 10-inch touchscreen and can be operated using gesture control. And for a tinge of the future, selected models also offer voice control with the Laura SKODA Digital Assistant.

Getting your car to select a radio station, make a phone call, or set the internal temperature just by talking to it truly brings the OCTAVIA KOMBI into the next generation.

PRICE  $171,900 (WITH COE)

ENGINE  1,498CC 4-CYLINDER TSI PETROL ENGINE WITH MILD HYBRID POWERTRAIN AND 48V BELT-DRIVEN STARTER MOTOR

TRANSMISSION  7-SPEED AUTOMATIC DSG

POWER  150PS @ 5,000–6,000RPM

TORQUE  250NM @ 1,500–3,500RPM

0–100KM/H  8.6 SECONDS

DISTRIBUTOR  SKODA SINGAPORE (Tel: 6305 8668)

MINI CLUBMAN

While not your usual wagon, the five-seater MINI Clubman is true to the genre with its versatile two-door rear luggage compartment. The added functionality of the split doors in the back gives drivers added flexibility in how they use the space. And usability is top priority when it comes to wagons.

The latest MINI Clubman offers a slew of improvements over the previous version. Many of these enhancements lift the iconic English marque through upgraded design profiles. LED headlights as standard, rear lights in Union Jack design, a newly designed radiator grille, new fog lamps with driving light ring, and new light alloy wheels (17- or 19-inch options) all give the car added presence on the road, not to mention the ability to turn heads.The car comes in three different versions: the MINI Cooper Clubman, MINI Cooper S Clubman, and MINI John Cooper Works Clubman. Three colour choices are available — Indian Summer Red metallic, British Racing Green metallic, and MINI Yours Enigmatic Black metallic — and there is also a choice to have the roof and exterior mirror caps finished in black, white or silver.

Under the hood, customers can choose from two three-cylinder (Cooper) and two four-cylinder petrol engines (Cooper S and John Cooper Works), all featuring the latest MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology. A 7-Speed Steptronic transmission with double clutch is fitted as standard on the MINI Cooper Clubman and the MINI Cooper Clubman, while the MINI Cooper S Clubman is fitted with the 7-Speed Steptronic sports transmission. The MINI John Cooper Works Clubman comes with the 8-Speed Steptronic sports transmission.

If there is one aspect of the MINI Clubman that sets it apart from the competition, it’s the attention to detail inside the cockpit. Illuminated door bezels and cockpit bezel designed to harmonise in matching hues are available depending on the colour package selected. Seats offer a unique touch by means of a Union Jack motif on the headrests applied with precise perforations.The Clubman does not lack in connectivity; neither does it have any shortcomings on the infotainment front. The audio system has six speakers and a USB socket for connecting a device for streaming. Otherwise, Bluetooth connectivity is also possible.

There is also a hands-free telephone facility with USB interface, as well as the Radio MINI Visual Boost, including a high-resolution 6.5-inch central display. The John Cooper Works variant features an 8.8-inch touch display, as well as a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Parking is aided by a Rear-View camera, and the rear Park Distance Control system fitted as standard on all variants of the new MINI Clubman. Navigation with voice-guided directions is only available in the MINI Cooper S Clubman.

The MINI Clubman also offers a hint of the future through its unique 4G SIM card connectivity feature. This can be used for the Intelligent Emergency Call, which allows for automatic detection of your vehicle location and accident severity functions as well as MINI Teleservices. Through the standard MINI app for compatible Apple and Android devices, drivers can also send navigation destinations from smartphone to vehicle and receive information on the best time to depart. Remote Services also provides vehicle information such as fuel level and vehicle status on the smartphone, as well as activate the headlight flasher, horn, ventilation and door lock.

Beyond functionality and technological advancement, the Clubman also injects a good dose of fun into driving. The latest model offers style elements like different coloured side scuttles and exterior mirror caps. And if you want to set yourself apart when seen from above, the Night Jack roof design, featuring a graphic British flag finished in striking black and grey, should certainly set you apart.

PRICE  FROM $138,888 (WITH COE)

ENGINE  1,499CC/1,998CC 3- OR 4-CYLINDER, VALVETRONIC, TURBOCHARGED DIRECT INJECTION PETROL ENGINE WITH MINI TWINPOWER TURBO TECHNOLOGY

TRANSMISSION  7-SPEED STEPTRONIC/7-SPEED STEPTRONIC SPORTS/8-SPEED STEPTRONIC SPORTS TRANSMISSION (COOPER/COOPER S/JOHN COOPER WORKS)

POWER  136HP @ 4,500–6,500RPM (MINI COOPER CLUBMAN);
192HP@ 5,000–6,000RPM (MINI COOPER S CLUBMAN);
306HP @ 5,000–6,250RPM (MINI JOHN COOPER WORKS CLUBMAN)

TORQUE  220NM @ 1,480–4,100RPM (MINI COOPER CLUBMAN);
280NM @ 1,350–4,600RPM (MINI COOPER S CLUBMAN);
450NM @ 1,750–4,500RPM (MINI JOHN COOPER WORKS CLUBMAN)

0–100KM/H  9.2/7.2/4.9 SECONDS (COOPER/COOPER S/JOHN COOPER WORKS)

DISTRIBUTOR  EUROKARS HABITAT (Tel: 6473 3777)

MG5 EV

MG’s range of electric vehicles has been gaining popularity since its reintroduction here in 2020, particularly given its great price point and quality manufacturing. The MG ZS EV was the bestselling electric car in the country last year. The MG5 EV extends its range to the wagon category, combining practicality and functionality in a stylish package.

The MG5 is arguably the only fully electric wagon available in Singapore, and should meet the needs of those who want to move away from internal combustion engines while looking for a model with driveability and copious space. Currently, customers can choose from two variants: MG5 EV Exclusive and MG5 EV Excite.At the crux of the matter, both variants boast good range with a full charge. The 61.1kWh battery can take the MG5 EV 403km (WLTP-certified range) before needing a top-up; the 50.3kWh cell in the MG5 EV Excite will take the car 316km. Using a 50kW rapid charger, 40 minutes is all it takes to get both variants to 80% charge. There is also an option of overnight charging on a standard 7kW home charger. The MG5 EV also has regenerative braking to boost efficiency and optimise battery use.

Like the MG SUVs that launched the brand here in Singapore, the MG5 EV is a well-proportioned car that has nicely integrated lines in a minimalist, modern look. Its rear design reflects that of a “crossover” vehicle, giving the car a sporty stance. Boot space with the rear seats up is an ample 495 litres, more than enough to cart golf bags, bicycles and groceries. The 60:40 folding back seats further provides flexibility and expandability in boot space.The MG5 EV is equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity through an eight-inch touchscreen and an infotainment unit that boasts a six-speaker premium audio system with 3D sound.With the MG Driver Assist System, the MG5 EV (Exclusive) offers a comprehensive range of safety and convenience features including Adaptive Cruise Control, Electronic Stability Program (including ABS), Forward Collision system, Intelligent Headlight Control, and Lane Assist System. Rear Parking Camera, and Tyre-pressure Monitoring System is available as standard in all models.

The MG5 EV was named Best Value EV in the United Kingdom in January 2021.

PRICE  FROM $144,888 (WITH COE, NON-GUARANTEED)

ENGINE  PM SYNCHRONOUS MOTOR WITH LITHIUM ION BATTERY

TRANSMISSION  AUTOMATIC I SPEED

POWER  120KW @ 4,000–6,000RPM (EXCITE); 115KW @ 6,000RPM (EXCLUSIVE)

TORQUE  260NM @ 500–3,000RPM (EXCITE); 280NM @ 500–3,000RPM (EXCLUSIVE)

DRIVING RANGE  316KM (EXCITE); 403KM (EXCLUSIVE)

0–100KM/H  8.8 SECONDS

DISTRIBUTOR  MG EUROKARS (Tel: 6261 1181)

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